Even after the wear and tear of an NHL season, players often find ways during the offseason to stay on the ice in one way or another. For Washington Capitals Center Lars Eller, that included spending Thursday coaching hockey players from various levels at the Ashburn Ice House Hockey camp.
The camp (which featured guest coaches during the week) was conducted by ColdRush Hockey, an ice hockey instruction and training company run by Capitals skating coach Wendy Marco, and concluded with Eller as a guest instructor to local midget AAA, junior, and NCAA players, while also taking the ice with mites and squirts at the conclusion of his day. During the session, Eller worked with the players on plays in certain situations, skating, and supervised drills on-ice.
Eller has previously been a pupil of Marco’s, having worked on his own skating at MedStar Capitals Iceplex earlier this year. The 33-year old, who is entering his final season on a five-year contract signed in 2018, also took questions from the camp participants, whose questions were quite well-thought out.
One child questioned Eller on his game day ritual, which is started with a morning skate at MedStar Iceplex.
“After we have a morning skate, I go home and have lunch, then I take a long nap, and then when I come to the rink, I do my warmups, then a little bit of soccer, and then I get ready to go on the ice.”
Another participant asked about Eller, who became the first Danish-born player to win a Stanley Cup when the Caps did so in 2018 (he scored the deciding goal), and what positions he played growing up.
“I played offense, I played Center, and one year, actually when I was your age, I tried to play goalie. I think it’s good to try, if you want to try different things, I think it’s good to do”.
Eller ended his day in Ashburn with some advice for his starstruck pupils:
“Pay attention, and this is the first step on the path to maybe becoming an NHL player one day, because I used to do the exact same thing you guys are doing. So I hope you have a great year, and I hope you have a lot of fun, good luck!”
By Michael Fleetwood